Environmental Task Force
Since June 1995, the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has been encouraging the creation and support of local and regional task forces dedicated to the deterrence, detection, investigation and prosecution of environmental violations. The task force approach of combining federal, state, and local regulatory and law enforcement resources has proved to be a particularly effective tool because of the multi-media nature of environmental enforcement (i.e., an integrated approach that encompasses a combined examination of air, water, and other environmental concerns simultaneously). Since 1999, every county in the state has been covered by a county or regional environmental enforcement task force.
Environmental enforcement task forces are comprised of voluntarily participating federal, state, and local agencies with enforcement authority. The members of these task forces generally include local, state or federal prosecutors, local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies (e.g., sheriff, Fish and Game wardens, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US EPA CID etc.), investigators and technical experts from Cal/EPA’s boards, offices, and departments, and local environmental agencies (e.g., local hazardous material control programs, air pollution control districts, sanitation departments, etc.). Task forces can be especially effective in that they facilitate the pooling and exchange of resources and intelligence between different law enforcement and regulatory entities. These cooperative partnerships allow the task force members to pursue investigations which no single entity has the resources and information gathering capability to complete individually.